"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death; I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that."
Bill Shankly's famous words still ring true in 2013 and the legendary British football manager might as well have been talking about Egypt. Even with the Port Said Stadium incident still fresh in everyone's minds, whether you're a football fan or not, there's no denying that the beautiful game has a strange ability to bring people together.
The simple spectacle of thirty men transfixed on one small TV screen at an ahwa is quite a sight and tells you all you need to know; Egypt is football mad. The national team's unprecedented success in the African Nations Cup in the last few years ignited street celebrations like no other, yet FIFA World Cup grandeur has eluded Egypt since a mediocre showing at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, and is likely to do so till qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Qatar begin.
But this weekend, global giant, Coca-Cola, is giving Cairenes a chance to bask in the glory of the trophy that every footballer dreams of lifting – the FIFA World Cup. As part of a global trek across 88 countries, the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour is set to land in Cairo for a three-day extravaganza of events between November 14th and 16th.
The tour kicked off in Brazil, who'll host next year's competition, in September and will find its way to Cairo following stops in the Americas and the Middle East, and will continue to tour the world's capitals till April 2014.
Day one will see the trophy presented to local media, before Coca-Cola hosts a series of events in cooperation with local charities on the second day. The trip will be rounded off with a huge celebration in the gaze of the Great Pyramids of Giza that will reportedly be attended by 7000 people, including winners of Coca-Cola's World Cup Trophy Tour promotions. The event will also feature a performance by Algerian Rai legend, Cheb Khaled. One of the tour's main features, however, comes in the form of a holographic presentation that guides viewers through the history of the World Cup; something that has been a huge hit among those who have been lucky enough to get up-close and personal to the 36.5 cm high, 5kg, 18 carat gold trophy.
There's little that can console the disappointment of a passionate Egyptian football fan, but as the most prestigious prize in football, maybe the Coca-Cola and the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour can give Egyptian tourism the boost it so sorely needs.
You can find more information on the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour website.